CONCENTRATING ON GRAND BAHAMA
Address to Rotary Club Thursday, November 17th 2011
In 1993 in Stuttgart, Germany, there was an exhibition in the City Hall during the IAAF World Championships. The exhibition concentrated on several countries around the word and indicated their culture in Track & Field.
The Bahamas was fortunate to be included in this exhibition and the caption under The Bahamas’ exhibition was “Small Country, Great Athletes”.
That was nearly twenty years ago and since then Bahamian Track & Field has lived up to that billing.
My purpose here this afternoon is to speak about Sports in Grand Bahama.
After the development of Freeport, in the sixties and seventies, there became a proliferation of organized sports in Grand Bahama.
Basketball, softball, tennis, and track and field, to name just a few abounded.
On the national scene the Freeport vs Nassau rivalry exploded and enabled the Bahamas to develop stronger international teams.
Some of the pioneers in sports in Grand Bahama were Errol Bodie, from Andros, who grew up in New York and attended Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Bodie excelled in the 440 yds,
Later he would become the engine for track & field in Grand Bahama during the Carifta years.
Then there was Anita DeGregory-Doherty from West End who attended school in Britain and participated in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in the pentathlon in Edinburgh.
She also became quite involved in sports upon her return to Grand Bahama.
The Carifta Games which began in the early seventies saw numerous Grand Bahamian athletes dominate their events.
Elmer Smith and Beryl Bethel dominated the throws.
Rickey Moxey from Andros and David Charlton from Mayaguana were victorious in events from the 100 and 200m to the 400m, 110m and 400m hurdles.
Marcus Knowles was the first Bahamian to win the Boys Under-20 400m.
Fletcher Lewis, Brad Johnson, Daphne Saunders, Raymond Higgs, and Donald Thomas, reigned supreme from Carifta to World University medals, Olympic finalists and World Championships crowns.
Nivea Smith became the first Bahamian to win a medal in the IAAF World Youth Championships.
Andrae Williams, LaToy Williams, and Michael Mathieu all figured prominently in Bahamian 4x400m relay teams which have won medals in the CAC Championships, Pan Am Games, World Championships and Olympic Games.
On the road, Philip Watkins and Delroy Boothe have mastered the long distances.
These are just a few of the magnificent Grand Bahamian Track and Field athletes.
About thirty years ago Grand Bahama became the centerpiece for Road running in the Bahamas with the Princess 5k races which drew the presence of world marathon record holder Grete Waitz.
Marva Munroe, Dante David, and Leif Bjerke figured prominently in this.
Grand Bahama had an active long distance running scene. Grand Bahamians continue to be active, mostly outside the island.
With this in mind, a group of road running enthusiasts have banded together to resurrect Long Distance Running in Grand Bahama.
With this in mind, the Alpheus “Hawk” Finlayon Grand Bahama Race Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, April 7th 2012. This is between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Races will be the 5k and 10k.
I am more than appreciative that I was asked for the use my name in this pioneering event.
The Alpheus “Hawk” Finlayson Grand Bahama International Race Weekend is a National Health and Fitness Initiative which will help to address one of the nation’s number one concerns.
It will engender volunteerism, a National Initiative and builds community spirit.
The event will bring together the Grand Bahama community and engender international recognition and exposure to the international athletic world.
The Alpheus “Hawk” Finlayson Grand Bahama International Race Weekend will increase hotel nights and offer tourism spin-offs.
Part proceeds will be earmarked for charity through Rotary and the group US TOO.
It is an annual event designed for growth and offers a unique attraction to Grand Bahama,
It is an opportunity for all to get on the ground floor.
The contribution for Platinum is $5,000 with $2,500 for Gold, $1,500 for Silver and $1,000 for Bronze.
A potential Title Partner is now dotting its “I’s” and crossing its “t’s” before it comes on board.
An announcement is expected to be made shortly.
All levels of partnership have fantastic benefits.
We have had great response in this short period of time from the corporate community.
Once again, we are talking about the Alpheus “Hawk” Finlayson Grand Bahama International Race Weekend on Saturday, April 7th.
We urge the entire Bahamian corporate community to get on board at the ground level.
I thank you so much for your time and interest.
- Alpheus Finlayson